The book of Nehemiah (which means "Jehovah comforts") is part of the Old Testament and belongs to the historical books from the bible Hebrew. Originally this book formed one with the book of Ezra, but it was separated and is known as the Second book of Ezra in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate bibles, but in most current bibles it is called the Book of Nehemiah.
It is a historical book whose author is not well defined but the biblical tradition attributes it to Nehemiah, others to Ezra and other biblical scholars propose that both characters wrote these books.
From a chronological point of view, the Book of Nehemiah was written in the following terms between the 5th century BC and the 4th century BC.But the precise dates have been difficult to fix because in history there are two Persian kings who are called Artaxerxes. Some scholars accept that it is Artaxerxes I, when Nehemiah travels to Jerusalem for the first time, this period is between 445 and 433 B.C. But if Nehemiah lived with Artaxerxes II, it was in 398 B.C. Likewise the chronology between the characters of Ezra and Nehemiah has been difficult, because they do not easily coincide in time the actions of one with respect to the other and a definitive solution has not yet been found, because depending on which Persian king the writing refers to, the times of both characters vary.
It is a book written in the first person, which narrates the events carried out by Nehemiah to restore the walls of Jerusalem and faith of the Hebrew people in God and in themselves. For this work, the author(s) used different sources, such as "the memoirs of Nehemiah", as well as official documents of the Persian court.
The book continues the story told by Ezra, priest and scribe, who together with Nehemiah return from exile to rebuild the temple, Jewish worship and the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem and the faith and identity of Israel.
Nehemiah, who was a Hebrew born in exile, son of HachaliahHe was an educated, wealthy, noble, determined and humble man, with a deep love for God, who served as the cupbearer of the Persian king Artaxerxes and was a skillful administrator and organizer, governor of Judea and the rebuilder of the walls of Jerusalem and the gates of the citadel of the Temple. Nehemiah together with Ezra achieved with their faith, hard work and dedication the blessings of the Lord and the reestablishment of the people of Israel.
The central theme of the book of Nehemiah The Persian king, upon learning of the problems of his people, fasts, prays and asks the Persian king for permission to return to Judah and help his people. The king appoints him governor of Judah, gives him safe conduct to go "beyond the river" and gives him provisions and guards to carry out the rebuilding of the Hebrew city walls. He rules for 12 years and returns to Susan, but then returns again to Jerusalem to enforce the law.
Nehemiah rebuilt the city wall in 52 days with the help of the inhabitants of Jerusalem in spite of the difficulties imposed by the neighboring peoples. He also carried out social and religious reforms, such as the reestablishment of the celebration of tabernacles, prohibited usury, reformed excessive taxation, eliminated slavery, condoned the debt of the poor, prohibited the confiscation of property, regulated the Sabbath and prohibited the marriage of the Hebrews with women non-Israelis.
The book of Nehemiah can be summarized as follows:
- Nehemiah's mission and rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem (1.1-7.73)
- Public reading of the law and commitment of the people (7.73-10.39)
- Continuation of the memoirs of Nehemiah (11-13)